9 Common Mistakes Hotels Make When Preparing for Weather Emergencies

By Kurt Meister Senior Vice President , Distinguished Programs | October 21, 2018

You didn't have to be in Houston or Florida to understand the colossal impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Those two weather-related disasters fueled the most expensive hurricane season ever in 2017, totaling $202.6 billion in damages in the United States alone.

And 2018 has been no less volatile, from devastating flash floods in Ellicott City, Maryland, and Central Pennsylvania, to raging wildfires in California. The stark reality: dangerous weather – tornadoes, ferocious straight-line winds, blizzards and even earthquakes – can strike at any moment.

In the event of adverse weather, communities rely upon hotels to provide shelter. In turn, hotel employees and guests rely upon hotel management to be prepared. When a hotel isn't ready, the results can be expensive, chaotic and even dangerous. And even the most well-prepared hotels can suffer flooding or storm damage that leads to temporary closure.

Let's review nine common mistakes (and fixes) that will help you stay well equipped for whatever Mother Nature may bring.

1. Not Having Enough Supplies

If a blizzard or hurricane strikes, you may shelter in place for days, and no hotel wants to run out of food and water. Ideally, you should have enough on hand to last for weeks. Your hotel also must have tight connections with people in the supply chain. In the event of any widespread weather disaster, you'll need to know not only how much food, water and other supplies you have on hand, but also which suppliers can access your facility, and which ones cannot. A quick tip: Also stock up on items like iodine that can help with water purification in a worst-case scenario.

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